Strawberry Semifreddo


Italian Sunday Sessions

with Nicole Hernandez & Amy Withers Riedl

Several weeks ago, we featured the French Cheese, Crème Fraiche, with Peaches as a dessert. Today we are letting Italian Mascarpone Cheese be the star paired with California Strawberries for a refreshing summer desert. Mascarpone cheese is a creamy, rich, slightly bitter Italian cheese similar to American cream cheese.  It is most famous for being the key ingredient in Tiramisu.  Often used in making a rich risotto Nicole commented "it lends itself to sweet and savory giving the recipes a distinct Italian essence." Semifreddo means "half cold" in Italian and maintains a soft, velvety texture for this lush, creamy Italian dessert.

This weekend we created a sweet strawberry semifreddo with shaved chocolate.  It serves well like a richer whipped cream to which you can add as or with a favorite topping to give your dessert something new and unexpected. After a hot Sunday at the beach,  Nicole went on to serve what was left to friends in between shortbread cookies to make a little semifreddo sandwich. This also made a perfect marriage to which she added  "The sweet cookie brought out the creamy richness of the semifreddo and made a great beachy summer dessert."

Strawberry Semifreddo

1 small basket of strawberries chopped.
1 tablespoon water
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
½ cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz mascarpone cheese
5 Tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar

Put the chopped strawberries and tablespoon of water in a sauce pan and boil together for five minutes to make a syrup - then let chill

Whip the cream, mascarpone cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl for a minute until resembles whipped cream, add the strawberries and syrup and chill in the fridge.  We chilled this version but found it spread in between shortbread cookies also worked beautifully... and just savored the complexity that the mascarpone gives to this dessert.